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US Sanctions Assad’s Supporters Over Drug Trafficking

Many of those sanctioned were involved in the trade of the highly addictive amphetamine captagon.


FIILE: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad gives an interview to a journalist from Russia Today in the capital Damascus. HO / Syrian Presidency Telegram Page / AFP

 

The US Treasury Department sanctioned 11 people and companies on Tuesday it said were involved in illicit financial transfers and drug smuggling in support of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Many of those sanctioned were involved in the trade of the highly addictive amphetamine captagon, which is illegally trafficked throughout the Middle East and Europe, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

Syria has become the world’s leading producer of the powerful drug, and its trade has helped bolster the Assad’s government’s coffers during the country’s long-running civil war.

“The revenue from the illicit Captagon trade has become a major source of income for the Assad regime, the Syrian armed forces, and Syrian paramilitary forces,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.

Those sanctioned include a Syrian national called Taher al-Kayali, who allegedly operates a company that purchased vessels to smuggle captagon and hashish.

Maya Exchange Company, another Syria-based firm, is alleged to have facilitated “millions” of dollars of illicit transactions to benefit the Syrian government.

“The Assad regime continues to employ a variety of schemes to evade sanctions and sustain its longstanding campaign of repression against its own citizens,” Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement.

This includes “trafficking in illegal drugs, exploiting currency exchanges, and leveraging seemingly legitimate businesses,” he continued.

“The United States remains committed to holding accountable those who seek to support this illicit financial activity at the expense of the Syrian people,” he added.

AFP